Photo Credit: Derek Blanks/Bravo
Reality TV -- especially Bravo's brand of it -- isn't brain surgery. Consider the formulaic Real Housewives franchise. Producers choose a group of outrageous personalities, throw in one or two people who are truly unhinged, and film the group's interactions. If all goes well, this produces the kind of ridiculous behavior that you and I would consider shockingly inappropriate in real life, but tantalizing to watch on TV.
Now here's a scary notion. What if the reality TV crazies were actual medical doctors with diplomas and licenses to birth babies and...operate on people? Ladies and gentleman, may we introduce Married to Medicine, which premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. "There's a code of conduct," says a cast member during the sneak peek below. "We take an oath. We want to do no harm."
Not to quibble, but aren't these ladies sort of breaking the "do no harm" aspect of their oath? Presumably, Bravo won't let them physically hurt anyone (imagine the tsk-tsk-ing they'd get from Andy Cohen!), but they're certainly harming the perception of women in medicine! In fact, some Howard University medical students have circulated a petition to have Bravo cancel the new show, which they say "heavily associates black females in medicine with materialism, cat fights, and unprofessionalism."
Granted, there are only two doctors among the six women shown pouting, brawling and hissing grammatically incorrect threats. ("You are goin' clean up some of the s--t comin' out your mouth!") The others are doctors' wives and medical sales associates. But the show's site features a sort of public service announcement from the cast's two OBGYNs, riffing on the dangers of douching. They are frighteningly glib…and a little gross about it. Watch the clip below!
You can't watch that without losing a little bit of faith in the medical establishment. Who gave these dodo birds a license to practice medicine?
People often call the Real Housewives franchise a guilty pleasure, but at least the harm they're doing is limited to garden parties and charity balls. Married to Medicine seems to want us to look down our noses at medical professionals, which really ought to provoke some guilt -- on Bravo's part, and ours, too.